In response to the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that caused destruction near Amatrice in central Italy before dawn today, Israel’s Foreign Ministry immediately made contact with Italian authorities.
“We have offered assistance, of course. So far it is not needed,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told ISRAEL21c early this morning.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent condolences to the people of Italy and offered search-and-rescue assistance to Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi.
Israeli non-governmental organizations experienced in disaster relief also are assessing the situation to determine if they will send volunteers.
According to press reports, at least 21 people are known to have lost their lives in the quake and its aftershocks. Italian rescue squads are pulling more victims from underneath rubble amid many collapsed buildings in the mountainous village.
Reuters reported that the Amatrice hospital was badly damaged, and that towns in the Umbria, Lazio and Marche regions were all hard hit. Roads are being cleared so more search-and-rescue teams can be mobilized.
Israel is quick to offer aid and send personnel to assist other countries anywhere in the world after natural and manmade disasters. Just yesterday, IsraAID announced that it will be sending a delegation to Louisiana to assist in recovery efforts following catastrophic floods.
If Israelis are sent to Italy to help, they will arrive swiftly; flights from Tel Aviv to Rome take less than four hours.